How to do Kegel exercises with these professional techniques for how to how to find your pelvic floor and how to feel your pelvic floor muscles and exercise them correctly.
Step 1 – How to Find and Feel Your Pelvic Floor
To do kegel exercises correctly, you need to know where your pelvic floor muscles are.
Your pelvic floor muscles sit in layers in and around the area where you sit. They are like a hammock that slings from your pubic bone at the front to your tail bone at the back as you can see in this side-on illustration. Your pelvic floor muscles wrap around your urethra (urine tube), vagina and anus.
These muscles need to work for long periods of time, and also contract strongly and quickly when needed such as during a cough or sneeze. This is how you need to exercise them to work – for long periods of time and to contract quickly when required.
Pelvic floor muscles also need to rest and relax from exercise to avoid too much pelvic floor muscle tension.
How to feel pelvic floor muscles
Kegel exercises involve and feel like a squeeze of your pelvic openings and an inwards lift. Your pelvic openings are your vagina, anus and urethra (urine tube).
To know how to do Kegel exercises for strengthening, first you must be able to find and feel your pelvic floor muscles working.
Useful techniques for feeling how to do your kegel exercises:
- Imagine stopping wind from passing by lifting up inside your anus.
- Sit saddle-like on a rolled towel as you squeeze your pelvic floor openings and lift inside.
- Use your finger against your perineum (the space between your vagina and anus) as you lie on your side and feel this area lift inwards slightly as you contract your pelvic floor muscles.
- Use a mirror to look at the entrance to your vagina and watch it close slightly and move inwards as you contract your pelvic floor muscles.
- Avoid common mistakes such as straining or pushing your pelvic floor down and pulling your abdominal muscles in strongly as you attempt your pelvic exercises.
Step 2 – Training Kegel Exercises
When you are confident in how to do kegel exercises using the correct Kegel technique, you are ready to start your daily Kegel exercise training program:
- Set your body in the correct position with appropriate posture for pelvic floor muscle exercise either; lying down, sitting or standing with a slight inward curve in your low back and your chest lifted.
- Squeeze your pelvic openings and lift them up inside as you contract your pelvic floor muscles.
- Maintain your strong pelvic floor muscle contraction as you breathe normally.
- Fully relax your and rest your pelvic floor muscles sufficiently before repeating this technique again.
Step 3 – How to do Kegel Exercises and Strengthen
It is important to progress pelvic floor training to get the best results. Best Kegel exercises are those performed strongly, using the correct technique in upright positions. Lying down is a useful way to commence training for weak pelvic floor muscles; however, you need to train them to work in upright positions. Try to exercise your pelvic floor muscles using progressively longer and stronger contractions when you are able to.
Pelvic floor muscles should also be trained to work immediately before and during activities that may cause pelvic floor muscles to stretch and strain, such as coughing and sneezing.
It is not advisable to practice your Kegel exercises when walking. This can cause too much pelvic floor muscle tension where these muscles become unable to relax, contributing to pelvic pain.
How Long Will Strengthening Take?
Commitment to regular Kegel exercises will help you stay active and in control of your bladder and bowel. They will improve your pelvic support which is especially important with prolapse, after gynaecological surgery and childbearing.
Muscle changes start to occur in the first couple of weeks after commencing pelvic floor exercises. If your pelvic floor muscles are weak, it can take around 5 to 6 months of diligent pelvic floor training to get your best possible pelvic floor strength and control. Once you have done this, you will maintain your pelvic floor strength gains by performing your exercises on a couple of days of the week.
How Kegel Exercises Help
Regular pelvic floor muscle training can transform your pelvic floor into a stronger, thicker and firmer support. This means that your pelvic floor may be sit higher in your pelvis and provide better support for your inside and help you;
- reduce pelvic prolapse symptoms
- reduce or prevent leakage from bladder and/or bowel
- prevent pelvic floor dysfunction that occur with menopause when pelvic floor muscles become thin and weak
- rehabilitate the pelvic floor after pelvic floor surgery
- improve pelvic support during pregnancy
- rehabilitate the pelvic floor after pregnancy and childbirth
- improve sexual sensation and satisfaction
- help you to feel good about yourself.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michelle Kenway
Michelle Kenway is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and author of Inside Out – the Essential Women’s Guide to Pelvic Support.
The Inside Out exercise DVD and book shows you how to strengthen your pelvic floor.